The eXIthera Team


Neil J Hayward, Ph.D.
CEO, President, Co-Founder, Board Member

Dr. Hayward has held previous positions within both large pharmaceutical companies (GSK and Pfizer) and biotechnology companies (Alkermes, Praecis, Daiamed, and Hydra Biosciences).  He has over 30 years experience in discovery, preclinical research and development, and has successfully filed 7 INDs and product registrations of 2 new chemical entities.  Prior to co-founding and being the President and Chief Executive Officer at eXIthera Pharmaceuticals in August 2012, Dr. Hayward was Vice President of Pharmacology & Toxicology at Hydra Biosciences.  At Hydra Biosciences, Dr. Hayward played a key role in the identification and selection of ion channels as potential therapeutic targets, the execution of preclinical studies, and the subsequent nomination of small molecules as development candidates for internal projects and external collaborations (Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer and Zalicus).  Therapeutic targets investigated include pain, inflammation, asthma, anxiety, and bladder function. With colleagues at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, he identified a potent, selective and orally active TRPA1 inhibitor as a potential novel painkiller.  The development candidate (CB-189,625) has recently successfully completed Phase 1 clinical trials.  Dr. Hayward received his B.Sc. (Hons) degree from the University of London and M.Phil. & Ph.D. degrees in Pharmacology from the University of Cambridge, UK.  Dr. Hayward has published over 80 scientific papers and abstracts and is an author on 6 patents and 7 patent applications.

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Dennis Goldberg, Ph.D., FAHA
VP Product Development & Regulatory Affairs, Board Member

 Dr. Goldberg, in addition to eXIthera, is currently serving as president and co-founder of Benu-BioPharma, a biopharmaceutical development management and consulting company.  Dr. Goldberg has served as president, CEO and Founder of Transport Pharmaceuticals, Inc., President, CEO and Founder of neXus therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology management and consulting company, President, CEO and Director of BZL Biologics, a company that developed monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of prostate cancer;  Millennium Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MLNM) licensed the BZL antibody technology.  Dr. Goldberg was President, CEO and co-Founder of Talaria Therapeutics, which developed the Large Unilamellar Vesicle (LUV) technology.  Esperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ESPR) acquired talaria Therapeutics less than two years after its formation.  Dr. Goldberg was also Vice President of Product development and regulatory Affairs at GelTex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GELX), where he was responsible for all biological and clinical development activities at the company, leading to the approval of RenaGel® and WelChol®.  He was also co-Founder of Transcend Therapeutics, a spin out of Clintec Nutrition Co. (a joint venture between Baxter and Nestle), where he was Vice President of Research and Development, and Science Coordinator for the Atherosclerosis Research Program at Pfizer Central Research.  Dr. Goldberg holds a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biochemistry from Temple University and received postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Specialized Center of Research on Atherosclerosis, University of California, San Diego. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association.  He has published extensively in basic and clinical sciences and is the inventor on fifteen U.S. patents.


Phil Friden, Ph.D.
VP Research and Development

Dr. Friden has 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry taking products from concept through proof of concept clinical studies.  This includes 12 years working in virtual/semi-virtual companies.  In addition to eXIthera, Dr. Friden is currently serving as VP of Research and Development and co-founder at Benu BioPharma, a biopharmaceutical development management and consulting company. Most recently, Dr. Friden was Vice President of Research & Development and Clinical Operations at Transport Pharmaceuticals, which included responsibility for development of all new products, two of which went from concept into clinical testing.  Dr. Friden was formerly Vice President of Biology at Scion Pharmaceuticals, a start-up biotechnology company focused on small molecule drug discovery of ion channel modulators. Prior to Scion, Dr. Friden was Vice President of Research & Development at Periodontix (acquired by Demegen in 2001) where he managed a team focused on the development of multiple novel peptide-based treatments for chronic infections.  Dr. Friden began his career in the biotechnology industry as one of the founding scientists of Alkermes, Inc., where he initiated and lead a research program focused on the delivery of therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier.  Dr. Friden received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from the State University of New York, Stony Brook and conducted Post-Doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Friden is an inventor on 19 issued U.S. patents and has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters.


Eric Morrel, Ph.D.
VP Clinical Research

Dr. Morrel has been working in the biotechnology industry for over 25 years and in clinical research for the last 20.  In addition to eXIthera, Dr. Morrel is currently serving as VP of Clinical Research and co-founder at Benu BioPharma, a biopharmaceutical development management and consulting company. Dr. Morrel was previously Vice President of Clinical Research at Transport Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was responsible for the design and writing of all clinical Phase 1 - 3 Protocols, participated in the management and execution of those trials and contributed the clinical sections for all regulatory submissions.  Prior to joining Transport, Dr. Morrel was associate director of clinical operations at Transkaryotic Therapeutics, Inc. (TKTI), where he was responsible for the execution and management of TKTI’s gene therapy Clinical Trial.  Dr. Morrel began his work in clinical Research at Ascent pediatrics, Inc., a virtual company focused on reformulating drugs for the pediatric market, where he was assistant director of medical affairs.  At Ascent he managed multiple phase 1-3 trials, including selecting, negotiating and managing the contracts of the CROs.  Dr. Morrel has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from M.I.T., an M.S. in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Practice from M.I.T. and B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University.